Protecting Your Home From Fire


Fires do happen, but most can be prevented or controlled by taking measures that reduce the likelihood of one occurring. The City of Florence Fire Department helps to keep citizens informed as to ways to protect their homes from fire. These are some precautions you can take to help guard your home against fires: 

  • Request a courtesy Fire Department inspection of your home or business for fire safety and prevention.
  • Regularly clean your roof and gutters of loose debris.
  • Inspect chimneys at least twice a year and clean them at least once a year if creosote accumulation is 1/8 inch or more.
  • Keep dampers in good working order.
  • Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association Code 211. Contact the Florence Fire Department for exact specifications. Use ½-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas and the home itself. Also, screen openings to the floors, roof, and attic.
  • Install ABC-type fire extinguishers and a residential type sprinkler system in your home.
  • Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
  • Keep household items handy that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket, shovel, and a ladder that will reach the roof. 
  • Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant.
  • Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
  • Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property.
  • Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the home.
  • Consider obtaining a portable gasoline powered pump in case electrical power is cut off.
  • Clean out storage areas. Don't let trash such as old newspapers and magazines accumulate.
  • Check electrical wiring. Inspect cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs. Do not overload extension cords or outlets. If you need to plug in two or three appliances, get a UL-approved unit with built-in circuit breakers to prevent sparks and short circuits.
  • Never use gasoline, benzine, naphtha or other flammable liquids indoors or as cleaning fluids.  Store them in approved containers and well-ventilated outside storage areas and never smoke near them.
  • Safely discard all rags or items soaked in a flammable liquid.
  • Make sure your home heating source is clean and in working order.
  • Many home fires are started by faulty furnaces or stoves, cracked or rusted furnace parts and chimneys with creosote build up. Have your furnace checked by a reputable service company each year before usage season begins.
  • Use caution when using alternative heating sources, such as wood, coal, kerosene heaters, and electrical space heaters. Check with your local fire department on the legality of using these sources and ensure proper ventilation to the outside.
  • Place heaters at least three feet away from combustible materials and do not use in areas where flammable liquids might be in use. Make sure the floor and nearby walls are properly insulated. Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and follow manufacturers' instructions.
  • Store ashes in a metal container outside and away from the house.
  • Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery and any flammable items.
  • Keep a screen in front of the fireplace.
  • Make sure home insulation does not touch electrical wiring.
  • Know the locations of the gas valve and the main electric fuse or circuit breaker box and how to turn them off in an emergency.
  • If you shut off your main gas line for any reason, allow only a gas company representative to turn it on again.
  • Make sure your home has a visible and conspicuous house number posted on the outside of your house so that firefighters and other emergency workers can find you quickly in an emergency situation.

 
By following these practices, you can greatly reduce the risk of fire to your home as well as improve your ability to fight it should one occur. For more information on ways you can protect your home against fire, stop by the department main offices, located at 324 W. Evans Street, Florence, between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or call them at 843-665-3231.